I am not much of a fighting games connoisseur with my experience being limited to a few Mortal Kombat games, Injustice, some older MvC game and DoA5. The time I have spent with the fighting genre has been pretty rocky since I never put in time or effort to learn all the nuances that the genre had to offer. For a genre that has been a stranger to me for almost an entire lifetime, I had a surprisingly good time with Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite.
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is a fighting game developed and published by Capcom for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One. It is the sixth main entry in the Marvel vs. Capcom series of crossover games.
Marvel Vs. Capcom
Story & Narrative
As far as I have known fighting games, they don’t have much in the way of an interactive narrative. Most of the story in MVC:I, similar to other fighting games, is told in pretty much the same way- A whole lot of cut scenes that give the characters an excuse to fight. As I have no recent memory of playing an MvC game, it was amusing to see various characters of both universes tag team and fight against a set of opponents under the same circumstances.
The story is definitely the weakest part of the game and seems like something that Capcom just threw in together so that they could have the marketable “An epic story” tagline. The evil robot from Mega-Man X, Sigma, and the Evil robot from the MCU, Ultron, have merged themselves and their universes together in an event called “The Convergence”. The problem with the plot is that there isn’t any kind of proper build up to the story and many questions are left unanswered.
Some parts of the story do feel feel intriguing, but more often than not, the unanswered questions of the overall plot combined with the awkward facial animation and voice acting, takes the player away from the game. While I do not have a problem with the “typical hero vs villain story” that has been done a 1000 times before, at least it should be presented well.
The story starts off after about 3 months of the convergence for some reason with little to no description of events that took place in between. The heroes seem to have formed weird partnerships (Ryu & Hulk), again with no background story while the scenes keep jumping from place to place around the universe. Overall, it’s a huge mixed bag of heroes travelling to various locations and finding reasons to engage in combat.
Getting into the game for new players would be a pretty inviting proposition since the game is clearly trying to cater to new audiences. The “Auto-combo” system that allows you to pull off flashy combos with nothing more than mashing buttons is pretty much proof to that. I don’t remember anyone from the fighting games I have played before, jumping around in the air automatically after mashing a button a few times. This might be a huge turn off for veterans of the franchise and the first action they will take would be to switch off this function.
The game mostly follows a two-versus-two format while also allowing players to take advantage of abilities like active switching, that increases the combo counter, and Infinity Stones, which can be used to perform either quick, one-off abilities or more devastating (If used properly) attacks that run over the course of the length of a bar that is filled through the moment to moment gameplay.
There are quite a number of simple and complex combos that can be seen in the pause menu for players of various skill levels who want to try out different variations (At least that’s what looking at the menu made me think, while I just kept spamming the light attack button). The small roster of characters mostly play a bit differently yet predictably. I mean, the bigger characters are slower but have more offence/defense, while the smaller/learner ones are more nimble at the cost of having less explosive strength. I have heard that the roster in the previous installments included characters like the Wolverine, Magneto etc. The only reason I could think of them not bringing the characters back would be licensing issues, which from a consumer’s standpoint is just a sad exclusion resulting from the mismanagement/arrogance/greed (Whatever you want to call it) of multi-million dollar corporate companies.
Graphics are not a huge concern in my eyes as long as the gameplay is good enough. But I have to say this, MvC:I looks like a weird mixture of last gen and current gen. The character design sure looks the part of something from a bygone era while some of the environments may look breath-taking at times.
The character designs/ animations are definitely the weakest link of the graphics department, with many characters, especially from the Marvel Universe looking like a combination of various vegetables stacked on top of one another. As far as Capcom characters go, I didn’t find any malformed depictions from their universe.
From a noob of the fighting genre as well as a newcomer to the MvC games, I found Infinite to be an entertaining and engaging prospect that has enough depth to keep me hooked, yet is uncomplicated or rather noob-friendly enough to not overwhelm me with all the move-sets from the get go. For anyone wanting to get into the fighting genre, I can whole heartedly recommend the game without much hesitation.